Archive for the ‘Social media’ Category

Isn’t text messaging today just Morse Code v2.0?

When Samuel Morse sent the first electronic message from the U.S. Capitol to his partner in Baltimore nearly 170 years ago, he typed “What hath God wrought?”  I believe nearly every parent of a teenager today might be muttering the same words.

We are in the midst of four distinct generations of Americans trying to communicate with one another using different media.  Communication gaps between parents and kids or managers and employees are nothing new. It’s been the subject of thousands of books.  Experts have made millions and millions of dollars prescribing remedies to bridge the gaps and mend fences. But they’ve seen nothing like the gaps occurring today between the Veterans (born before 1946), Baby Boomers (born 1946-64), Generation X (1965-79), and Millennials (born 1980-1999)… or have they?  Has anything really changed over the past 170 years?

Take the phone for example: According to Nielsen Mobile, in the first quarter of 2009, the average U.S. teen made and received an average of 191 phone calls and sent or received 2,899 text messages per month. By the third quarter, the number of texts had jumped to a whopping 3,146 messages per month, which equals more than 10 texts per every waking non-school hour.  Just for the sake of comparison, at the beginning of 2007, those numbers were 255 phone calls and 435 text messages.

It’s hard to believe that little handheld device we used to call a phone is quickly joining the transitor radio and 8-track cassette in flea markets and garage sales.  Don’t believe me? Just try calling anyone born during the 90s or later.  Good luck on getting a real person on the other end to answer it. Voice mail? Good luck on getting a listen before it’s deleted. Email? You’ve got to be kidding. That’s old school, baby.

That makes the term “phone” almost obsolete. Using that mobile device to call someone is just a vestige of old technology. The older Millennials, also referred to as the iGeneration because these young people have been raised on the iPod and the Wii, rarely if ever use their “phone” to call someone. They communicate almost exclusively by instant messaging and Facebook. (I intentionally excluded Twitter because contrary to popular belief, young people “don’t get Twitter.”)

This explosion of text messages, tweets, and updates of non-verbal communication is stunning.  It has many peoples’ shorts tied up in a bunch. “How will kids today ever learn how to communicate?,” is often the cry heard from multi-generational training audiences.  And the spelling and grammar? “Well…it’s horrific,” parents and teachers proclaim. But historians might see this revolution in communication as just another lesson in history repeating itself. 

Isn’t instant messaging today just Morse Code v2.0?  What’s changed since Morse tapped in that first message? Upon brief reflection, it seems eerily familiar. One person taps a bunch of keys on an electronic device which transmits a message to another party. Only this time the code, all those texting abbreviations that drive grammar and spelling cops crazy, is translated on the spot by the recipient. 

Ironically even Morse’s first message reverberates loudly with today’s texting dissidents — “What hath God wrought?”  It seems that the more things change, the more they stay the same.

Gen Y Gets Religion Online

Amazon, eBay, Priceline — we’ve come to accept these virtual shopping places for every day purchases of books, records, travel and even used cars. While the Internet didn’t strike a fatal blow to bricks-and-mortar retail, it certainly changed the way buyers buy and sellers sell.

So you shouldn’t be surprised that religion has also found a new home on the Internet. And that traditional houses of worship are going virtual. In a simple search for “churches in Second Life,” I found the following places of worship listed on the first page: Second Life Synagogue Temple Beit Israel, Chebi Mosque, Chapel for the Holy Mother of God Maria and First Unitarian Universalist Church of Second Life.

Just as they go online for everything from Facebook to finances, a growing number of young people are finding faith online, most notably in the virtual world known as Second Life.

Young people are not only creating their own religious identities, they may also be changing the future of worship itself. Looking to the future is the challenge. Many religious organizations are realizing that to shepherd the millennial flock, you must meet them where they live … online.

“I think [this] generation is really turned off by the term religion,” LifeChurch.TV’s Pastor Bobby Gruenewald says. LifeChurch.TV boasts 80,000 congregants through the web. They log on to hear sermons and chat with other worshippers.  Other online congregations are popping up daily where they connect with the digitally connected faithful through faith-based phone apps, worship Web pages, online scripture readings, even prayer websites. And… tweeting is encouraged.

The Internet also levels the playing field between young people and the authority of the church, giving them a sense of control that previous generations never had.

This may also explain why a recent Pew Research Center study on Generation Y and religion found that while young adults are the least overtly religious American generation in modern times, the number of young adults who say they pray every day rivals the portion of young people who said the same in prior decades. According to a new Pew Research study, one in four Millennials (as the generation between 18 and 30 years old is also known) are unaffiliated with any religion, far more than the share of older adults when they were ages 18 to 29. But belonging does not necessarily mean not believing in the minds of these Millennials.

A Lifeway Christian Resources study offers additional insight into what appears on the surface to be just another widening gap between the generations. Seventy-two percent of Millennials say they are more spiritual than religious. While the study did find that fewer of them attend worship services, pray or read sacred scriptures, I wonder what percentage might gravitate toward online or virtual religion when it comes to prayer.

“Online, what people are doing is seeking out truth,” Rebecca Phillips, vice president of social networking for, “and it might not be in the traditional way of a pastor speaking from a pulpit.”

Second Life was created by Linden Lab in San Francisco in 2003; its founders imagined a social platform for an idealized online society. Membership has soared to 18 million and 1 billion hours logged on “in life.” Second Life has established a thriving economy that grew 93% in 2009 and transacted the equivalent of more than $1 billion. It has become a popular venue for politics and education.

For a quick introduction to Second Life, you can download a free excerpt from my book, Geeks, Geezers, and Googlization and view this YouTube video, An Introduction to Second Life.

3 Simple Ways to Recruit on Facebook

When a company is sourcing an open position, it pays to have as many tools in their recruiting tool box as possible.

One of the hottest recruiting tools these days is Twitter. Not a day goes by that I don’t receive a dozen or more blogs, articles and invitations to webinars about how to use Twitter for advertising jobs and sourcing candidates. What’s even better, I’m even starting to read a few success stories.

But truth be told…while Twitter is today’s media darling, its use is still not mainstream. Twitter is a recruiting tool with tremendous potential but it currently lacks universal appeal.  With time, that scenario may change. 

Nonetheless, I do encourage clients to use Twitter to publicize job openings and even connect with potential candidates because every little effort helps in that search for the diamond in the rough. You just don’t know how and where you’re going to find that next good employee fit.

Questionable ROI is not the case for Facebook when it comes to recruiting hourly and entry-level management and sales positions. (For more senior and experienced candidates, my preference is still LinkedIn when it comes to social networking sites.)  Facebook simply has too many eyes watching and thumbs typing every day. With a potential audience of 200 million users daily (total Facebook users exceed 400 million and half of them visit the site daily), a presence on Facebook is just too good an opportunity to pass up. And remember that the candidate you’re attempting to reach may not be your initial target. Social networking is about word-of-mouth. Using Facebook to announce job openings isn’t about sponsoring ads and posting help wanted ads as status updates. It’s about letting your network know that you have an opportunity for someone they might know. Recruiting on Facebook isn’t about just word-of-mouth but as Erik Qualman says, it’s “world of mouth.”

But just creating a Facebook Fan Page is not enough. Successful candidate sourcing on Facebook requires a strategy – a relatively easy, low-cost, 3-step strategy but a strategy nonetheless.

1. Create a Custom Facebook Landing Page for your company. This can be accomplished quite easily by installing a free Facebook application called Static FBML. This application allows you to create a custom design with basic html code, like the one I created for my client Quantum-Services. A graphic designer can create an image for you to post to your landing page or you can use a program like AdKreator. This is a fantastically easy program for non-graphic designers like myself. I used AdKreator to create the ad for my client and my pages as well. With the Static FBML application, you can then add and name a new tab such as “Now Hiring” to the menu bar. Facebook users can click on the tab to apply for jobs. Equally important is that you don’t have to be a Facebook user to see Facebook Business Pages. These web pages are public profiles, searchable by the likes of Google and other search engines. In effect, a Facebook Page is like having a free website on the most popular networking site in the world. Non-Facebook users who find your site when searching are directed to any page you choose. In this case, my client elected to direct visitors to the recruiting page.  But you have the option to direct them to any page on your Facebook site. You can even create multiple pages and test the responses.

2. Engage candidates on your Wall. Good candidates are looking for the right place to work just as much as employers are seeking the right candidates to hire. Before they apply, they want to know what it’s like to work for your company. What’s management like?  What are the employees like?  Getting employees to post updates about their daily activities gives candidates an honest, inside look at the job. Having employees respond to questions posted by candidates is an excellent way to engage them at the front-line and differentiate your company from the competition.

3. Post video clips of what it’s like to work at your company. Record interviews with employees. Give a tour of your facility. Demonstrate what a new hire might expect on his or her first day. These can be added on the same landing page or by creating a second one. The easiest way to display videos on Facebook is to upload them to YouTube and link the YouTube video to a landing page. That pathway also offers the advantage of your videos getting viewed on YouTube (and searched on Google since Google owns YouTube.) You can also upload them directly to your Facebook site.  You can also run contests to encourage employee participation in monitoring and posting updates to the site as well as referrals. The more activity on the site, the more likely your Facebook Business Pages rank will increase in the search engines and the more likely candidates will find you.

Click on the link for a free step-by-step guide to creating a custom Facebook landing page.

Can Facebook Save Toyota — and Your Business?

For good and bad reasons, many organizations are slow to get involved with social media. It’s a mistake — a big mistake. A wait-and-see attitude might have worked in the past, but it’s a clear indication how out of touch management is with what’s happening in their marketplace.

One critical reason to start building a fan base on Facebook or followers on Twitter today is to have an attentive audience when you need them. To do that you need to be available when they need you, not when you decide the time is right. That might be too late.

Take Toyota for instance. Who would have thought that one of the most reliable brands in history would manage its first major recall so poorly? Yes, I credit Toyota for their candor and unprecedented decision of this magnitude to halt all sales of recalled vehicles. But as far as responding to questions, dealers are in the dark. Customers are angry. 

At least that’s what you hear and read in the traditional media. I wondered if that was the whole story. So in the words of Paul Harvey, here’s the “rest of the story.”

Toyota’s Facebook presence is a story of success and missed opportunity.

First, the missed opportunity. 

The first thing I did when I landed on Toyota’s Fan Page was look for the number of fans. Since a week has passed since Toyota announced the recall, I was expecting fans for this popular brand would be in the hundreds of thousands, if not millions. My expectation was promptly crushed. Less than 70,000 fans were following Toyota. In what could be one of the biggest threats to a brand’s reputation in history, Toyota has a fraction of a presence compared to other popular brands — Coca Cola, Starbucks, Red Bull. 

So with only 70,000 member — are they kidding me? Coca Cola has over 4.2 million fans. Red Bull has 2.2 million. Starbucks has 5.2 million. Even brands with questionable customer loyalty like AT&T and Verizon had more fans than Toyota, with 230,000 and 835,000 fans respectively.

Those are the numbers I expected from Toyota. With a demographic base that extends from young drivers in their teens to octogenarians, why wouldn’t they have built a presence on Facebook months ago like other industry leaders? Was it fear of negativity? Was it arrogance? How could a brand so widely applauded for its laser focus on customer service and quality turn a deaf ear to the most popular communication medium today? Or did they look to their industry peers, competitors Ford (70,000 fans) and GM (107,000), and become complacent that they were doing enough already? 

Whatever their reason (or excuse) Toyota missed a great opportunity to engage with their customers in real-time to keep a pulse on the reaction during this crisis and put a lid on bad publicity. With millions of customers in its database, a fan base of 70,000 just plain sucks. 

Within this black Toyota cloud however is a silver lining and two valuable lessons for every organization.

Continue reading.

Wor-Wic Adds Social Media and Facebook Classes to Winter Schedule

If you live on the lower Eastern Shore of Maryland, you’ll want to register today for these new courses just added to the fall schedule at Wor-Wic Community College. (If you live outside the region, contact Ira S Wolfe about on-site or web-based classes.)

Social Media 101: Link Me, Tweet Me, Friend Me
Wor-Wic Community College
Jan 28/Feb 4 – 2 night course

6:30 PM to 9:30 PM

Marketing Your Business Using Facebook
Ocean City (MD) Chamber of Commerce
Feb 3 – Lunch ‘n Learn
11:30 AM – 1:30 PM

Marketing Your Business Using Facebook
Wor-Wic Community College
Feb 11-25 or Mar 17-31 – 3 nights each course

6:30 PM to 9:30 PM

CEOs: Be Careful Who Owns Your Facebook Page

One of the biggest bonehead blunders taking place in business today has to do with CEOs delegating the set-up of their Facebook business page to the intern or youngest employee.  Why?

First of all, it trivializes the critical role social media plays in managing your brand and reputation.  While Facebook and MySpace might be second nature to a 20-something, that doesn’t mean they have the ability to put social media in its proper context.  By that I mean – social media will only be effective if it supports and enhances your strategic objectives.

Understanding how to set up an account on Facebook, doesn’t automatically infer they understand strategy, marketing, messaging, and branding. Just because I’m a frequent user of Word, doesn’t qualify me for a Pulitzer Prize.

Read more at Workplace Trends

Book Review: Alliterative title generates generational talk

The following book review was printed in The Courier, November 18, 2009. The reviewer was Elaine VanderClute.

The subtitle of the book “Geeks, Geezers, and Googlization” by Dr. Ira S.Wolfe, “How to Manage the Unprecedented Convergence of the Wired, the Tired, and Technology in the Workplace,” is as clever as its alliterative title.  A closer look reveals that the geeks are wired, the geezers are tired and googlization is a fancy word for technology, but Wolfe’s prescriptions for success in the workplace are much more comprehensive than his titles suggest.

Wolfe tackles a phenomenon that many might not even realize exists: the convergence in the workplace of four generations with very different ideas of how to work, when to work, where to work and why to work.  First, he identifies these four generations. The Veterans, born before 1946, are sometimes known as the Silent or Greatest Generation. They remember Pearl Harbor, Mickey Mouse, the McCarthy Era and Joe DiMaggio.  Next up are the Baby Boomers, born between 1946 and 1964, whose memories are of the Cold War, civil rights demonstrations, American Bandstand and the Beatles. Generation X, or Baby Busters, born between 1965 and 1979, recall the Challenger disaster, the Cosby Show, Cabbage Patch dolls and Kurt Cobain.  Finally is Generation Y, or the Millennials, born between 1980 and 2000. Wolfe predicts that they will remember September 11, Facebook, Wikipedia and Bill Clinton.

Mix the Veterans, the Baby Boomers, Generation X and Generation Y together and put them in the same work environment and there is the potential for some interesting results.  Wolfe stresses that knowing the differences about how the workers in each of these generational groups approach the workplace can put a positive spin on those results.  He is quick to point out however, that the defining characteristics in each group may be typical but are by no means universal.  Using himself as an example, Wolfe describes himself as a “Gen Y trapped in a Baby Boomer body.”

Readers might wonder why the convergence of these particular generations should be any different from say, the generations that worked together in the 1940s or 1950s.  One of the reasons is that in the past, it would have been rare to have people from four generations working side by side.

However, people today have a longer life expectancy and more Veterans and Baby Boomers are opting to put off retirement or go back to work after retirement.  Another reason, according to Wolfe, is technology, hence the “googlization” in his title.  In a particularly succinct take on what is happening in the workplace, Wolfe asserts that “technology is the air that young people breathe and it is beginning to leave more experienced workers gasping.”

Lest readers think that this means that Wolfe is minimizing the contribution that the older generations can make at work, the author makes it perfectly clear that workers from all four groups bring valuable assets to work and these should be recognized and cultivated by managers.  The trick he says, to approaching a multigenerational workforce, is to use the right management style for each generation:  a supporting style for the Veterans, an empowering style for Baby Boomers and older Gen Xs, a steering style for the younger Gen Xs and a building style for the youngest workers, the Gen Ys.

 “Geeks, Geezers, and Googlization” focuses on the mix of generations in the business world, but the application to other parts of living is clear:  people would do well to take the time to learn what distinguishes the members of one generation from another.  As Ira Wolfe says, “Bridging the generational gap is like controlling traffic at a four-way stop sign.  To avoid collisions, drivers must give-and-take from each generation to keep the productivity flowing, creating a more cordial and hopefully collaborative environment.”

CEOs: Can you afford to ignore Facebook?

CEOs hate it. They try to ban it, censure it, and wish it would go away.  But take a look at these statistics.  Are they crazy?  How can they ignore these market trends?  How can they ignore Facebook?

Facebook currently has:

  • More than 325 million active users
  • 50% of our active users log on to Facebook in any given day
  •  The fastest growing demographic is those 35 years old and older

Why would any manager or business want to ignore an audience of this size?

What are Facebook users doing?
  • Average user has 130 friends on the site
  • More than 8 billion minutes are spent on Facebook each day (worldwide)
  • More than 45 million status updates each day
  • More than 10 million users become fans of Pages each day
  • More than 2 billion photos uploaded to the site each month
  • More than 14 million videos uploaded each month
  • More than 2 billion pieces of content (web links, news stories, blog posts, notes, photos, etc.) shared each week
  • More than 3 million events created each month
  • More than 45 million active user groups exist on the site

What the CDC Can Teach You About Twitter

Every business can take a lesson from the playbook of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Along with dozens of other health care organizations, the CDC has embraced social media and is going viral with the news about the H1N1 virus. As of September, tens of thousands of people had viewed CDC videos on YouTube and listened to podcasts. Over 1 million people follow CDC tweets on Twitter and 30,000-plus people are fans of the CDC Facebook page. What the CDC has learned is that social media can help a business….

Continue Reading


Is Social Media a fad…or disruptive innovation?

Did you know….it took radio 38 years to reach 50 million users. It only took TV 13 years. The Internet had 50 million users in 5 years. See a trend here? 50 Million people used the iPod in only 3 years. Today we have Facebook which added 100 million users while over 1 Billion iPhone apps were downloaded in…..only 9 months!

Is Social Media a fad….or a disruptive innovation? Watch this video about the Social Media Revolution.

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